Less than 12-hours after Congress failed to pass the so-called Plan B, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) insisted that he has not abandoned negotiations with President Obama to avert the so-called fiscal cliff and called on Congress and the President to continue working towards a deal
During a press conference alongside House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Boehner sought to shore up confidence in his speakership and his conference, although he admitted that he could not convince conservative members to increase taxes on the richest Americans for the good of the country.
Boehner’s so-called ‘Plan B’ extended the Bush tax cuts for Americans making up to $1 million and was even supported by anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist. Republican leadership sought to entice conservative members by offering a companion bill of spending cuts to food stamps, Wheels on Meals, and Medicaid. That measure passed, but the modest tax hike didn’t.
“There was a perception created that that vote last night was going to increase taxes,” Boehner explained. “That impression was out there. There were a number of our members who just didn’t want to be perceived as raising taxes.” He went on to compare the intransigent members to lifeguards who refuse to save drowning swimmers:
One of my colleagues the other night had an analogy of 100 people drowning in a pool, and that he was a lifeguard. Because he could not save any of them, does that mean that he should not have done anything? His point was, if I can go in there and save 99 people that are drowning, that is what I should do as a lifeguard. But the perception was out there and a lot of our members did not want to deal with it.
Boehner did not rule out passing a bipartisan bill that could attract Democratic support, insisting, “We’re not going to address it by kicking the can down the road.”